Cambridge apartment residents worried air conditioning won’t turn on before hot weekend


CAMBRIDGE – This weekend’s forecast calls for temperatures to hit upwards of 90 degrees, and that is concerning news for people whose air-conditioning might be out of commission.

A resident of the Millers River Apartment building, operated by the Cambridge Housing Authority, told WBZ-TV she received a letter from the CHA this week.

The letter reads in part:

“Dear Resident of Millers River Apartments,

We regret to inform you that the buildings A/C is not available and will not be available for a few weeks. Due to the increase of tenants that have moved into the building, the existing transformer cannot handle the electrical capacity. If we turned on the chiller, we would be at high risk of losing power. The transformer needs to be upgraded and can only be done by Eversource. At this time, we are at the mercy of their schedule. “

One of the residents in the building, who did not want to be identified, said, “We can open the windows a little bit but the way they have the windows set up you can just crank it open but all that is going to do is let the humidity and heat in. It doesn’t seem like it is going to cool things off. I am just worried about people who are elderly and people who are impacted by this physically.”  

That same resident sent WBZ-TV a picture of her thermostat from this past weekend showing it was 83 degrees inside her apartment.

hot thermostat
Thermostat inside Millers River Apartment building

CBS Boston

WBZ reached out and started questioning the Cambridge Housing Authority and Eversource.

Within a couple of hours, the CHA sent us a statement that revealed a different timeline and made no mention of work being done by Eversource.

“The Cambridge Housing Authority is actively working with our contractors and electrical engineers to resolve the issues with commissioning the new and modern central electrical system required to support a monumental upgrade from the building’s cooling and heating system. This work impacts the new air conditioning system at Millers River Apartments. We are expecting to resolve the issues with the system by mid-day this upcoming Friday 5/20, which will allow the cooling system to be in place for this weekend’s unseasonably high temperatures.  In the event we continue to experience limitations with the cooling system after Friday, we have contingency plans in place to provide residents with a variety of options to meet their cooling needs. Our utmost concern, as outlined in our mission, remains resident safety, comfort, and quality living.”

For its part, Eversource said, 

We will continue providing support to the Cambridge Housing Authority and plan to be on site tomorrow as their electricians work inside the Millers River apartments to get the air conditioning system running. At the same time, we are also exploring every alternative available to assist residents during the forecasted high temperatures so that they can safely stay cool.”


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